business news in context, analysis with attitude

From the Los Angeles Times:

"Since February, Amazon has been playing Santa Claus to Ukraine, delivering planeloads of goods, including blankets, hygiene kits, diapers, food and toys, for the war-torn nation and refugees in Poland and other parts of Europe.

"But long term, what’s more important to Ukrainians than the gifts coming in is what’s going out: massive amounts of government, tax, banking and property data vulnerable to destruction and abuse should Russian invaders get their hands on it.

"Since the day Russia launched its invasion Feb. 24, Amazon has been working closely with the Ukrainian government to download essential data and ferry it out of the country in suitcase-sized solid-state computer storage units called Snowball Edge, then funneling the data into Amazon’s cloud computing system.

"'This is the most technologically advanced war in human history,' said Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s 31-year-old vice prime minister and minister of digital transformation, referring not just to weapons but data too. Amazon Web Services’ 'leadership made a decision that saved the Ukrainian government and economy.'

"Amazon has invested $75 million so far in its Ukraine effort, which includes the data transfer via the Snowballs. Fedorov, speaking at a tech conference in Las Vegas this month, called it 'priceless'."

KC's View:

To take a page from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's marvelous speech to the US Congress last night, this is not charity from Amazon - it is an investment.

I'm sure that Amazon figures that if Ukraine is able to survive the horrendous onslaught by Russia and maintain its status as a free nation and a young democracy, it can be a thriving market for its retail and other services.  At the same time, Amazon must know that stopping Russia in its tracks, preventing further war crimes and Putin's expansionist impulses, is one way of maintaining a world in which capitalism can thrive.

It is great when one can do deeds that are at once self-serving and that put one on the side of the angels.